May 16, 2011 1:11pm
Jay Lane (non-Dead?)
When Claypool and LaLonde got the urge to tour again and knew it wouldn’t work with Alexander, they turned to original drummer Jay Lane who, as Claypool notes, “missed [the boat] because he left Primus before we released our first album.” It was LaLonde who made it clear that he didn’t want to tour for a quick money grab. He was only interested if he and Claypool could make it fun again and take Primus a step forward.
For years, Lane had played in Bob Weir’s band RatDog. “It’s funny that he’s playing this music again,” says Claypool. “It was funnier to me that he was playing that music because it was so different than anything he ever even knew about.”
When his old Primus compatriots came calling, Lane was actually playing in Furthur, the Dead-based project led by Weir and Phil Lesh.
“There’s a big difference between Jay playing with Furthur and Jay playing with RatDog,” Claypool says. “I have a lot of respect for Bob Weir. I like Bob; he’s a good guy. But when Jay was doing the Furthur thing, I just didn’t get it. Jay Lane is one of my two favorite drummers on the planet. Anybody that knows me knows when someone asks me, ‘What drummers do you want to play with?’ I always say Stewart Copeland and Jay. Whenever I could get him on my records, I would. I tried to get him on tours, but I felt bad pulling him away from Bob because Bob is a good guy. If Bob was a dick, I would have pulled him out of there as quickly as I could—but he’s not.”
Lane wasn’t even playing drums with Furthur but rather assuming the percussionist role a la Mickey Hart to Joe Russo’s Bill Kreutzmann, who is the band’s drummer.
“For one of the greatest drummers that I think exists, to not be playing drums—to be playing an egg shaker —that’s unthinkable,” Claypool huffs.
“To be fair, he probably had a tambourine, too,” interjects LaLonde.
“Jay should be playing drums not an egg shaker,” Claypool repeats, refusing to let it go. “And he should be playing drums to the extent of his capabilities. He wasn’t being utilized, so I didn’t feel awkward asking him to come do this. I haven’t talked to Phil [Lesh], but I’d hope Phil doesn’t feel bad. When Jayski came and played with us, it was amazing. It was like the missing link.”
“So I’m sure you’re wondering how I got back after 23 years?” Lane says, running a restless hand through his mop of black curls. “I begged for my gig, that’s how it happened. I was begging and pleading. I would still have been in [Furthur], probably. But old Claypool called me up.”
But not everyone was happy about the Primus grab. Lane began to get missives from the Dead faithful.
“I’ve gotten a few comments like, “Jay, your true tribe misses you,” he says solemnly. “But this is where I grew up and this is where I stayed in my heart.”